U.S. Announces Measures to Ease Trade with the Philippines

Excerpt from Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report | Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A press release issued by the White House April 28 during President Obama’s visit to the Philippines indicates that the two countries have taken or soon will take the following steps to further ease two-way trade.

– The Philippines has been removed from the Special 301 Watch List based on significant advances in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

– Considerable progress on worker rights issues in the Philippines will allow the U.S. to close a Generalized System of Preferences review of those issues without any change to the Philippines’ GSP benefits.

– The two sides have pledged to further strengthen and expand bilateral agricultural trade, including U.S. meat and vegetable exports to the Philippines as well as Philippine fruit exports to the U.S.

– The Federal Aviation Administration announced April 10 that that the Philippines complies with safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization and has been granted a Category 1 rating, which should open more routes for travel and thus create more business opportunities between the two countries.

– An agreement in principle has been reached on the general market access terms, including steps to facilitate trade by the Philippines, that will enable the U.S. to support the Philippines’ request to extend special WTO treatment for its rice imports through 2017. A letter exchange memorializing this understanding is expected by June 1.

Officials also discussed the steps that the Philippines could take to position itself for participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. President Obama indicated that these could include additional economic reforms, but no further details were publicly given.